The One Right Answer

When I was working for the Bureau of Land Management and stationed at Utah State University, a friend and I started an internship program called “Tehabi.” It gave students the background and experience they needed to work for land management agencies like the National Park Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and helped short-staffed offices get work done. Just as importantly, Tehabi increased the number of ideas about how to solve a problem by putting people together who had different backgrounds and education.

One of the things we taught students was that there was always more than one right answer. We’d seen too often how opportunities were missed by trying to solve a problem in only one way, and had also seen that when people sat down, talked, and shared their ideas, that they could come up with lots of different, very good solutions. Our motto celebrated the idea that good ideas came from changing our minds. It was printed on the mugs we gave students:

We cannot solve our problems using the same level of intellect we used to create them.

– Albert Einstein

The motto and the idea that there is always more than one right answer is something I’ve carried into all the work I’ve done. For example: If we can’t get rid of weeds with herbicides, and ranchers don’t like goats – well teach their cattle to eat the weeds. It’s also something we try to provide to our On Pasture readers, and this week is an especially good example. Each article shares a new way of looking at a problem and arriving at a solution.

We’re certain that these articles will help you think of new solutions for your own enterprise, and we hope you’ll share experiences that you’ve had when you approached an old problem in a new way. Your ideas, suggestions and comments are what keeps the On Pasture community growing.

Thanks for reading!

Kathy and Rachel

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